Saint Sister, the duo from the North of Ireland, are set to release their debut album on 5th October 2018. Today they share their new single You Never Call. Known for their stunning vocal harmonies and fusion of traditional Irish folk and minimalist electronica, on this track they deliver a chorus with a vocal performance much bigger than anything we’ve seen previously from the band.
Gemma Doherty and Morgan MacIntyre began making music together after meeting at University in Dublin. Their first EP “Madrid” was a breakout success. 2 million streams on Spotify in the first year as well as daytime playlisting on BBC radio 1 propelled them to a European tour with Lisa Hannigan and a single via Communion Singles Club. In September they embark on a 40 date headline world tour across North America, Australia, and Europe to promote their debut album.
The twelve tracks on Shape of Silence are steeped in a sense of longing. The band hail from different parts of Northern Ireland (Belfast and Derry), yet they both talk about growing up with a yearning for an intangible sense of ‘Irishness’ and a romanticised, idealised vision of what it might feel like to live in the cobbled streets of Dublin.
Doherty says “We both moved to Dublin at the same time. Our paths didn’t cross for a couple of years, but when they did, we both knew what it felt like to live in a place that you had dreamt up in your head, only to realise that people don’t quite understand the place where you’ve come from; and that the longing isn’t necessarily reciprocated. Although we didn’t grow up together we shared a lot of the same experiences, it felt like having a childhood friend who knows everything about your family.”
The essence of shared upbringing influences Saint Sister’s music and, more than that, their friendship. They embody an “us against the world mentality” – “The most striking thing about our relationship, which at this point is all encompassing, is that when we started making music together we were effectively strangers to each other”, MacIntyre explains. “
We jumped in head first and invested everything in each other.” With Shape of Silence Saint Sister prove how worthwhile that investment has been.“We wanted to explore the connections between people, and the conversations that are borne out of figuring yourself out in relation to another person. The beginning of the record feels very conspiratorial. But then the songs become a little darker, a little more self aware and discerning and a little lonelier. ”
The band’s first few singles and debut EP focused heavily on the harp, an instrument Doherty has been playing since childhood. She recalls a time when she thought she had to learn the guitar to write a certain type of music; the myths of “how to be a band” coupled with a self-doubt many young female musicians experience. In the end it was her Father who encouraged her to use what she had and write in a way that was natural to her.
That “you do you” mentality has seen the band explore new sonic directions on this album, as MacIntyre says “There are some very introspective songs on the record, songs in which we gave ourselves the space to experiment and use textures we hadn’t used before, but then we’ve also got a few songs that are much poppier than anything we’ve released up until now.”